Eph Advice: Homesickness (it's OK!)

Homesickness happens to almost every student at some point in their college career. For many, it happens early on, though it’s not restricted to that specific time period. Homesickness is to be expected, and rest assured, if you’re feeling it, you’re not alone. Keep reading for some stories & helpful hints from other students.

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“Being homesick is no fun but I quickly realized that calling my parents or friends back home every so often always helped. Also, my friends and I decided to make a list of fun things to do to keep ourselves busy, especially when one of us was feeling down. But the weirdest feeling is when you’re homesick of Williams when you are back home…” – Alexia Barandiaran ’19
 
“Williams does a pretty good job of making you feel at home pretty quick with the entry system and the great JA’s. however it can still be hard not coming home to your family everyday. One day my roommate and I decided that we would make a list of things that make us happy so that anytime we were feeling down or homesick we could look at our list and do something that makes us happy like color, eat apple juice and goldfish, or cuddle up under a down comforter.” – Elowyn Pfeiffer ’18
 
“I was afraid of homesickness before coming to Williams, but when I got here I was so caught up in classes, my entry, as well as extracurricular and social activities that I didn’t have the time nor did I feel the loneliness to become homesick. I surrounded myself with great people to support and to be supported. What also helped tremendously was the daily communication I kept with my loved ones back home. No matter how busy I got, I made sure to call up my family and you should too.” – Cristina Mancilla ’20
 
“I came into college expecting to never be homesick, boy was I wrong. While classes starting really helped, the best cure for me was to hang out in my entry common room with anyone who would walk through or my JAs if they were around. The entry is great in that it helps fill the gap that leaving your family left. But don’t worry! Just call your folks when you need to and just get yourself involved and meeting people and that homesickness will disappear fast.” – Erica Chang ’18
  
“Homesickness, it comes! But you have the power to not indulge in it. By all means call up your family and friends but go out also and make new friends. You are going to be with them for the next four years of your life.” – Nana Ama Ofori Atta ’19
 
“When you go onto social media, it can be pretty easy to convince yourself that all of your friends from back home are having a way better college experience than you. It’s no secret that everyone looks perfect online. That shouldn’t have to be something that makes you feel like you’re doing college incorrectly or that you’re in the wrong place. You’re in the right place. You just have to remember that while it’s great to keep in touch with  your friends, it’s important that you unplug and invest yourself in the opportunities around you, too. It’s not going to be Instagramable all the time – especially not at first. But it will become your home if you let it be.” – Megan Siedman ’20
 
“Going to college is tough! After coming to Williams, I found it was very easy to open up about my homesickness to my JAs and entry mates. We really are all in the same boat in one way or another, and you’re always surrounded by a true support system – so don’t be afraid to reach out to the people around you.” – Kayley McGonagle ’18
 
“I didn’t realize homemade food was such an integral part of my life until I started eating dining hall food everyday (nothing against the quality of food though). As a Korean-American, I was not used to the influx of American food in my life and lost my appetite at times, making me feel extremely homesick. Even if you’re completely used to this type of food, you may be missing your mom’s homemade cookies, boba, etc. Luckily, my friends were very generous in sharing food with me. Not only does cooking or backing with your friends take your mind off of the loneliness you may feel, but you’re also rewarded with yummy food! Be adventurous and explore other cultural food, too. There are a few great options available on Spring Street.” – Serapia Kim ’19
 
“For me, being homesick was not about missing my actual home, but rather missing an environment I knew and felt comfortable in. I am an international student so not only did I fine myself adjusting to the college environment but also to a completely new country. I found so much comfort in the international family and through joining clubs on campus to keep myself busy. Just remember that a lot of people feel as lost as you, so find comfort in the company of each other!” – Aanya Kapur ’20
 
“Realize that homesickness varies for everyone; some of my friends were up and running upon the first day of arrival, whereas I, two months in the semester, still wanted to go home almost everyday. Sometimes it just takes time! Try to get involved, stay on top of classes, and explore the campus. Once you get to know the school and its people, the place will start to feel more welcoming and less foreign. There’s nothing wrong with staying in touch with family and friends back home as well, whether via Skype or snail mail.” – Angela Chan ’19
 
“You will be homesick, but I can guarantee that the first few months will not be nearly as hard as you imagine. Within a few hours of being on campus, I knew that I had the kind of support from my JA’s and entry mates that would make for an easy transition to living away from home. Williams is amazing at taking care of you and keeping you busy until you’ve made a new home at Williams” – Stephanie Caridad ’18
 
“Social media and our quick efficient communication makes it easy, but in some ways it can make it harder. Don’t get caught up clinging to your phone waiting for people from back home to contact you. I stayed in touch with family/friends by contacting them when they had a specific event. So I would call my sister the day after I knew she had a big exam/essay. I would facetime my friends from home after they rushed their respected fraternities/sororities. If you’re homesick, when you talk to them, pick out a time after their or your next big event and contact them again then. It will give you peace of mind and something to look forward to. Then you can focus on all the amazing opportunities and people here on campus knowing when you’ll talk to them next instead of hovering by your phone.” – Erin Denham ’20
 
“It’s inevitable, but easy to overcome here at Williams. I’ve seen an entry-mate go from daily tears to “Wow, I haven’t spoken with my parents in a few days.” It’s all about immersing yourself on campus with entry-mates, class-mates, team-mates… In doing so, you’ll realize Williams is your second home.” – Jacqueline Simeone ’18
 
“For lots of people, college is the first time people have spent an extended period of time away from their families. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends and JA’s if you’re missing home – chances are they feel or have felt the same way.” – Emily Harris ’19
 
“The best way to get over homesickness is to get involved. Go to clubs, throw yourself into your work, spend time with friends and really make the most of the events Williams puts on. If you do that you’ll be surprised at how quickly this place becomes a second home. And you may even notice yourself being homesick for Williams when you’re not on campus!” – Johanna Wassermann ’18
 
14879083638_37e11a1f99_z“I came to college expecting to get pretty homesick, but it was better than I thought it would be. While the beginning was definitely not easy, I was able to forget my homesickness by going out and meeting new people. Basically everyone gets homesick at some point, and that was comforting to remember. By hanging out with new friends, I got over my homesickness pretty quickly. And of course,  you always have your JA’s and faculty who would always be more than willing to help you!” – Josie Maynard ’19
 
“Remember to give yourself time. There may be parts of college that you adjust to quickly, and others that take longer. Six or seven weeks in, well-established in my classes and habits, I still felt unsure and homesick sometimes. There is nothing wrong with missing your family and friends, and there is no standard adjustment period or time by which you should be “over” homesickness. Also, remember that everyone goes through feeling homesick in their own way! However you end up feeling, you are not alone.” – Sarah Stone ’18
 
“Coming from a Mexican-American household where the only language spoken at home was Spanish, homesickness hit me pretty hard. It troubled me that it is possible to go a whole day without speaking Spanish here. For that, I eventually learned that listening to music helped as I can sing along in my native tongue. I tend to miss the smallest things. Whether it may be waking up on weekend mornings to the loud music my mom would play or noticing how religiously my parents watched the late-night soap opera, it got to me. I for one, deal with homesickness by calling my parents simply to talk about their everyday activities. It reminds me of them and brings back pleasant memories. As well, it always helps if you can convince your parents to send you a care package with food you would eat back home. That is a must.” – Mauro Renteria ’19
 
“How much homesickness someone experiences definitely varies depending on one’s individual situation, but I found that by keeping myself busy and becoming involved in different things around campus, Williams became my home! During breaks I realized I was homesick, but for Williams!” – Stephanie Boulger ’18
 
“The most difficulty part about my transition to Williams was being away from the support system that I have relied on for all of my life: my parents. It was hard to not consistently get the kind of encouragement and support that I was used to. I, like many other students, get most homesick during times of stress: finals, starts of new semesters, etc. When I am stressed I find myself missing the support and comfort I got from being home and surrounded by love and family. However, I am learning that living in a new place requires building new support systems and learning to be able to rely on new people, and also yourself. My parents will always be my support system, but since I have come to Williams, I have grown that support system.” – Catie May ’20
 
“I originally thought that I wasn’t going to be homesick having been away from home a lot as a child, but I did end up getting a bit homesick after all. It wasn’t so much a feeling of wanting to leave Williams and go back home, but missing certain things from home. It happens to a degree to most people and it’s nothing to be ashamed about.” – Dorothy Gaby ’18
 
“For me, homesickness didn’t hit me during the first few weeks of College. I kept myself busy. I joined clubs, spent hours studying, went to Williams events, tried to make new friends every day, and explored the town. It wasn’t until later that I started to miss my parents and my cats from home. I didn’t even think it would be hard for my parents but it was. Now I try to call them every day even if it is just to say “good night.” We will all experience homesickness in different ways but eventually, you will consider Williams your second home!” – Jessica Munoz ’19